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Sponsoring an Immigrant

November 6th, 2016 at 09:10 pm

So I'm in a sticky situation and I need advice.

My best friend married a foreigner, and they can't settle anywhere. He can't work here, she can't work there. They are constantly kicked out of each others countries and keep having a move every few months. She is having a baby, so this isn't a good life style.

They are trying to apply for her husband's green card so he can go to work and school in America and they can settle down. But by US law they need a financial sponsor.

Basically the sponsor agrees that if they can't pay their bills, etc, you take full responsibly for them. You would also be required to pay back any government services they get such as food stamps, medicaid, etc.

While I love my friend she is one of the most irresponsible people I have ever met. I do NOT want to be legally bound to her financial situation. She is at her wits end because literally no one in her family makes the income requirements, or they have been in trouble in the past for tax fraud. So she is reaching out to friends.

She is what I would call a gypsy and has never worked or lived any where more than 4 months. All her friends are the same, and as such none of them have made real wages, or they don't pay taxes.

So that leaves me. The boring person who stayed home and works. I barely make enough to meet the income requirements. When she asked me I agreed to sign for her because I thought I was just vouching that her husband is a good person, and not a bum. But my husband made me back out when we found out about all the financial legalities as well.

Has anyone ever done this? Is it a serious manner, that I am right to not want to do? I don't ever want to ruin my credit, or owe the government for something they do or didn't pay. But if it's mostly just a good faith voucher, I would be fine with that...

I just don't know much about it.


19 Responses to “Sponsoring an Immigrant”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Do not do this! You are sounding the alarm bells in your post. It is not your problem they can't get their act together. Honestly, they may need to live apart until one or the other gets approval to live in the other's country. She needs to get a job, stay at job, and settle down for the sake of the baby.

    I would be honest with her that you have looked into it further and you and your husband have agreed not to sign anything that has any potential of financial liability. And unfortunately that appears to be what is being asked.

  2. starfishy Says:

    ditto what CCF wrote! i feel anxious just reading the financial responsibilities of the sponsor and then the description of your friend's lifestyle. you work hard and have goals and dreams. This decision would put you in a financially compromising position. just say no. good luck!

  3. twest Says:

    My husband and i sponsored our son-in-law. He and our daughter have been very responsible. He has always worked and paid his own way and has never been in trouble. We hated all the responsibility that comes with it, but in our case this is our family and our grand kids as well. In my opinion if you don't feel this friend is responsible I would absolutely not do it. I am not sure that I would have done this for too many of our family members either.

  4. snafu Says:

    Could you please reassure us all that you will not take on this level of responsibility for your friend and her husband. CCF laid it down very succinctly.

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    I agree with everyone else. I was pretty irresponsible when I fell in love with someone from another country. The hoops I had to jump through actually changed me, helped me get my act together and grow up a little. I remember the financial support they require isn't outrageous; I believe I had a $40K job and about $1000 in savings, and that was more than enough to satisfy the requirements. Hopefully your friend or her husband (or both) will find it within themselves to do what they need to do to be together (and to be good parents, which is a whole other level on the responsibility scale).

  6. Klarose Says:

    Thanks guys. To be clear I already told her no. But I just wanted to check in and make sure I was being fair. Sounds like I made a good choice.

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    Oh thanks for letting us know you didn't agree. I'm glad you were able to come to that conclusion on your own. Smile

  8. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Klarose, my husband and I sponsored his nephew's wife. Nephew had not lived in the US since about age 8, so we did not really know him. The two traveled through Africa and Europe before coming to the US. The they traveled around the US when they arrived. So they were laid back people. But I knew from the jobs they'd had and the way they comported themselves with family that they were responsible people. So we decided to sponsor them. We never needed to pay a cent for them. She became a citizen more quickly than I've heard of that happening in the last 30 years. I don't know how that worked out. We were then off the hook. BUT! NO! I would not sponsor the person (the couple) you are talking about. The risk is huge. I think you can feel okay about having said no.

  9. crazyliblady Says:

    Your instincts are already telling you what to do. 1) You already said your friend is irresponsible. 2) You did not say if she works, but given her gypsy lifetstyle, probably no, and even if she does have a job, probably not steady income. 3) She obviously does not think things through before doing them. I probably would never want to sponsor anyone, because I would not want to be responsible for their finances, but especially not someone like this.

  10. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Um NO WAY! Considering the fact I was a graduate student with a stipend of $18k/year and minimal savings in 2004 when we got married and we had no problems. I just looked at my tax return 2004 our "income" was $37k combined working full time stipends".

    I sponsored my DH who was a graduate student making the same. If we qualify and were at that income level in Southern California anyone can do it. I have no idea how they can't qualify. We did everything asap because the moment we got married we walked right over and got him his application for a green card. After all he no longer could be on his visa status.

    She needs to get a job. I was making the equivalent of $8/hr, less because we worked a lot more. But if they would approve me making that then even working at walmart or target will likely be enough.

  11. My English Castle Says:

    Like ceejay, I sponsored my husband's green card. But I don't think I could tie my financial future to someone who was not my family. Best of luck to your friend and her husband.

  12. ThriftoRama Says:

    Um, I had no idea this thing existed. Does that mean you have to pay for that for the entire time they live in the U.S? As in, potentially for the rest of their lives?

    Bad deal. If what you say about her past history is true, this could ruin you.

    Plus, maybe the best route is to have her come here and get a job, stay with family, get on her feet then sponsor him herself!!

  13. klarose Says:

    She doesn't like to work. Right now she isn't working, she says she is too nauseous from the baby. But even before that she frequently quit and changed jobs. She actually thought I was weird and hassled me because I've worked the same job for nearly 5 years. She still asks me all the time when I'm going to quit. I just tell her adults with responsibilities can't just up and quit. I have bills to pay!

    There is no way she would make the income requirements even if she got a job. Husband and I barely make $40k a year, and that is with two well over minimum wage jobs. Her husband's income can't count, because he technically not allowed to work.

    ThiftoRama it gets fuzzy there... In some parts it says your responsibility ends after they are a citizen or after they have 10 full time working years. But in another section it mentions being responsible for paying back government services even after they are a permanent resident. So yes, scary.

    They are currently living with her parents in the US.

  14. klarose Says:

    If she worked a minimum wage job 40 hours a week that only comes out to $16,640 a year. No where close to $40k.

  15. ceejay74 Says:

    She has to make 125% of poverty level for your area. Probably much less than LAL and I needed in HCOL areas.

  16. Kiki Says:

    I have experience with this. Please do not do it unless you are OK to handle his financial responsibilities for the next 10 years.

    My brother in law is a foreign national. Dad sponsored him. Big problems now that they are divorced. Dad could be on the hook for THOUSANDS upwards of 100K AND could have to pay my sister the child support BIL has not paid in 6 years.

    I am sorry from your friend and her situation but it is her legal and financial issue. Not yours.

  17. PatientSaver Says:


    Reading your post was very alarming. I'm glad to see in subsequent comments that you definitely will steer clear of this. You can still be friends, but she should be mature enough to realize friendship is one thing, putting your own financial stability on the line for another person with a very bad track record is another thing.

    It reminds me of someone I used to work with at the bank. I liked her very much on a personal level, but her work habits on the job I totally disapproved of. Basically, she didn't want to work or be there at all and she came up with all sorts of clever ways to avoid coming in. It really got to me because she was taking advantage of the woman we both reported to, and our manager was oblivious to what was going on.

    I know you work very hard to manage your personal finances responsibly; something like this could totally upend things.

  18. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I made $18k. We made $37k combined in Southern California very HCOLA. So I qualified making $18k! That is less than $1500 more than working minimum wage where you are. We filed a joint return in 2004 for $37k. But since his stipend didn't count I made $18k.

    Somehow I was approved to allow my DH to stay on $18k. If I can do that without a single penny of help or telling our parents then it can be done. And where you live is cheaper. What's poverty level where you are?

    She can do it if she wanted and there should be no excuses if she wants her husband with her. I get that she's pregnant, but then it's time to look for work that maybe he can help like cleaning houses? Delivering papers?

    I know what I made when we submitted I have all electronic and hard copies we submitted. Like I said I made $18k. That's about what you make?

  19. scfr Says:

    I too sponsored my (then) fiance, now my DH.
    I was 27 and NOT a high earner, although I did not have debt and had a tiny amount of savings. The financial bar is not that high.

    So glad to hear you are NOT going to doing this!

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